About the strangest family scandal to emerge so far in Campaign 2008 involves Mike Huckabee's son David, a Boy Scout camp, and a dog dangled unto death. From a Newsweek account by Michael Isikoff:
One issue likely to get attention is [Huckabee's] handling of a sensitive family matter: allegations that one of his sons was involved in the hanging of a stray dog at a Boy Scout camp in 1998. The incident led to the dismissal of David Huckabee, then 17, from his job as a counselor at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, Ark. It also prompted the local prosecuting attorney- bombarded with complaints generated by a national animal-rights group-to write a letter to the Arkansas state police seeking help investigating whether David and another teenager had violated state animal-cruelty laws. The state police never granted the request, and no charges were ever filed….
Huckabee called [former director of Arkansas State Police John] Bailey's account "totally untrue" and described him as a "bitter" exemployee. "I asked him to resign because he had so alienated the entire state police," he said. "It had nothing to do with my son."…
The director told NEWSWEEK only that a stray dog was "put down" and that the counselors were fired for violating the Scout credo to be "kind."…
Are the allegations true? It's not clear from this account, but as a former Eagle Scout interned for several summers at the wonderful Forestburg (near the New York/New Jersey border), I can tell you that what happens at scout camp stays at scout camp.
Isikoff is certainly right to imply that as the former tub of goo Huckabee rises in the polls like some sort of slimmed-down Ron Paul blimp, all sorts of weird shit is going to come out about him, his past, and more. He's been in the public eye too long and comes from a milieu that gave him wide range to pander to all sorts of creeptacular elements in American cultural and political discourse (which, to give Huckabee credit, he might fully agree with). Witness the recent flap over his 1992 comments about AIDS.
If nothing else, the story of David the Doggie Killer certainly makes the Huckabee Christmas card, already a disturbing spectacle, as rich a text as an Antonioni film: